I’m pretty predictable when I shop for board games. I think I’m just trying to recreate the experience of playing Risk with my friends on lazy summer afternoons in the camping trailer in our backyard. I want to move giant armies around a board and shout “I’m attacking Kamchatka!” at the top of my lungs. The only reason I even know there’s a chunk of land on this planet called “Kamchatka” is because of Hasbro.
Anyway, in practice this means I’m drawn to pretty much any fantasy wargame with colorful components and a huge map, which looks like it could take six hours to finish. (It’s precisely because I don’t have the time to play these games any more that I lust after them so much.)
WotC’s Assault of the Giants fits the bill perfectly. It’s an ambitious game of fantasy warfare played out across a map of Faerûn, with some intriguing strategy flourishes. And best of all, it’s a game of (literally!) giant armies… how cool is that?
[Click the images to embiggen.]
There’s no question that Assault of the Giants draws its main inspiration from the most important AD&D module, Gary Gygax’s Against the Giants, which technically predates the game of Advanced Dungeons and Dragons itself, and in many ways was the showcase adventure that fixed what the game was all about for thousands of gamers around the world. All the creative elements are there: the giant castes (hill, stone, frost, fire, cloud and storm, each with their own secret agenda) are recruiting and raising armies to wreak havoc among humankind. All that’s missing is an Eclavdra miniature, manipulating events from the sidelines.
Assault of the Giants moves the action from Greyhawk to the Forgotten Realms world of Faerûn, and adds a mythological overlay in the form of Annam the All-Father, Eldest of the Giant gods, who shatters the caste system that fixed giant culture for millennia. Players take the role of one of the castes, each of which must recruit giants to its cause, while also pursuing a secret agenda.
Typical for the WotC adventure games, the components — including the map — are gorgeous. This isn’t a cheap game, but the production values are worth it — including distinct giant miniatures, tokens, and sturdy full-color cards.
Here’s a look at back of the box (click for more legible version.)
And here’s a closer look at some of the miniatures.
There’s also a resource component to all the mayhem, in the form of food, artifacts, ore, and runes, that adds to the strategy.
There’s a definite appeal to stepping into the shoes of one of AD&D‘s iconic giant races, and setting out to conquer huge swathes of territory by stomping around the map smashing enemies. The core premise of this game will appeal to any old-school gamer with fond memories of battling giants in the Glacial Rift of the Frost Giant Jarl and the Hall of the Fire Giant King.
Assault of the Giants was designed by Andrew Parks and published by Wizards of the Coast. It was published in 2017, and retails for $79.99. See the Game Board Geek listing here.
Previous WotC board games we’ve covered include:
Dungeon! – A New Kind of Board Game by Bob Byrne
Lords of Waterdeep
The Legend of Drizzt
Castle Ravenloft by Scott Taylor
Wrath of Ashardalon by Bob Byrne
Conquest of Nerath by Scott Taylor
Temple of Elemental Evil by Bob Byrne
Tomb of Annihilation by Andrew Zimmerman Jones
Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate
See all of our recent Games coverage here.